Smarter Cheaper Faster
I started this project in 2003 with the "great idea" of getting a O powered High Powered Rocket above 46,000 feet. O powered is 40960N total impulse and 46,000 feet is the record for an O powered flight. the O powered motor is the maximum allowed in Canada as a HP rocket.
My Group and I designed and built and peroxide motor which puts out a little more than 450 lbs of thrust, about 2100N. We are able to throttle the motor between full thrust and quarter thrust giving us the ability to throttle down once dynamic stabilization was reached and proceed at a lower thrust through 35,000 feet. At that point we go through Mach and on up to 60 to 70K. We need to go through Mach at the higher altitude to reduce the dynamic pressure on the rocket, thus allowing us to build a lighter rocket which in tern gives us the ability to do what we intend to do, hit 60K + feet with an O powered rocket.
The only thing we were missing out of the project was being able to predict where it would land. The requirement was to be able to predict within + or - 1000 feet of it actual landing site, well the cheapest allowable program on the market is worth 250,000US and was about 240,000 out of my price range. And thus the attopilot part of the program. The idea was to use a ram air parachute controlled by an autopilot, which by the way, will most likely be what we end up doing but the first version used the wrong chute and thus failed. We were told in no uncertain terms that we had to prove that the autopilot would work at those altitudes. That led us to building and flying multi platforms with multiple versions of Attopilot. On each newer platform or version of Atto we have conquered a little bit more of the puzzle.
The Super Gulp was to be our High altitude test platform, and in fact flies extremly well in high winds and medium altitudes but the low speed chateristics are not stable at higher altitudes thus eliminating the Gulp from the tests so were back to designing and developing a more stable high altitude platform.
I'm open to any suggestion any of you might have as I don't have many ideas left other than going back to the original ram air chute.
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